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Thinking About Sex Like We Think About Cooking

try thinking about sex the same way you think about cooking Auremar/PhotoSpin

In general, my patients are very nice people, middle-class men and women who mostly want good relationships and decent sex four, maybe five times per month. A lot of them confess to needing “better communication.” But when we actually talk about what that entails, they often back away, with embarrassment, giggles, or silence.

Here’s what “better communication” about sex involves: vocabulary, knowing what you want, and a willingness to say it.

When this seems overwhelming to people, I remind them what cooking is like.

When we cook, we have words for everything. We know things: pot, spatula, ladle, strainer, measuring cup, bowl. We know places: stove, sink, refrigerator, microwave oven, counter. We know activities: boil, fry, steam, bake, broil, freeze. We know ingredients: salt, garlic, oil, and my current favorite, coconut milk.

Imagine trying to cook without these words! “Um, take some stuff and do something with it. Then put that someplace while you do some other thing with different stuff. Combine the two bunches of stuff, using the right tool, for a certain amount of time, and then do this other thing until it’s finished.”

If we cooked like that, we’d starve.

Having sex like that is just as clumsy. A lot of people talk about “down there,” “y’know,” “that thing I like,” and “maybe later;” many people wiggle around during sex, hoping their partner will get the message and do something they like, or stop doing what they won’t. If you’ve tried these things, you know they don’t work very well. Especially that wiggling thing.

Then there’s the issue of knowing what you want—during cooking as well as during sex.

I like my eggs scrambled, especially with a little chedder, onion, and peppers. But soft-boiled? Eyewwwww—gross! Or to put it in a more grownup fashion, no thank you. Everyone has food preferences: fish and chips yes, sushi no way; well-done beef yes, rare beef, ugh; mushrooms sure, mushroom soup no, no, no. Food preferences don’t have to be logical; after all, the Chinese eat things most Americans won’t touch, and vice versa. Around the world, carnivores eat things that scare or anger vegetarians.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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